Human cost of the police cuts

Stay safe on the roads, says Chief Constable Giles York SUS-141223-134553003
Stay safe on the roads, says Chief Constable Giles York SUS-141223-134553003

UNISON has said axing 1,000 jobs could cause a ‘serious and fundamental loss of service’ at Sussex Police.

At a briefing last week the Force revealed it is to shed 1,000 posts - including 500 frontline officer jobs - over the next five years.

A cut in spending by central government is being blamed.

Over the past five years, Sussex Police has had to find ways to make savings of £50million.

This latest round of cuts will focus solely on jobs in an effort to save another £56million over the next five years, says UNISON.

Alongside the 500 officer jobs, 200 local policing roles are facing the axe, along with 300 non-policing posts.

This will reduce the workforce beyond a safe margin and lead to a serious and fundamental loss of service.

Andy Stenning, UNISON branch secretary for Sussex Police, said that while the union had sympathy for the Force’s financial situation, it warned that the cuts could lead to a ‘serious and fundamental loss of service’.

Mr Stenning said: “Whilst we have sympathy with the situation Sussex Police find themselves in as a result of government- imposed cut backs, UNISON is opposed to these plans and will continue to fight to protect jobs and services.

“The Force has partnered with an outside contractor to draw up these proposals- at a cost of £500,000 so far, with further costs to come.

“These proposals are not driven by the desire to improve and enhance the service the Force provides to the people of Sussex, and will mean a marked reduction in service.

“This will reduce the workforce beyond a safe margin and lead to a serious and fundamental loss of service.

“It will also have a huge impact on the health and wellbeing of our members as they struggle with excessive workloads and try hard to continue to serve the people of our communities.

“The majority of these cuts will focus on Neighbourhood Policing, with the loss of a number of PCSO posts.

“Frontline policing needs to be protected and we need to ensure it is rooted in our communities.

“Policing must be supported both financially and through proper and informed debate in our communities.

“This is why we support the scraping of the Police and Crime Commissioners and for them to be replaced by a properly elected Police Committee that is representative of the Communities the Force serves.

“UNISON will continue to work closely with Sussex Police to ensure our communities are safe and properly resourced.”

Despite the job losses, which will see the staff numbers go down from 4,865 posts, the chief constable said the quality of policing in Sussex would not change.